Former Waikato rugby player turned Landsdowne Park owner Dave Duley has pulled off “probably the biggest pinhook of the year” at this year’s Karaka sale, according to Windsor Park Stud owner Rodney Schick.
Pinhooking involves buying six-month-old horses as weanlings and selling them at the yearling sale as older horses.
Dave bought a Zoustar filly for $130,000 and sold her at Karaka for $650,000.
“To take a risk on a filly at $130,000 is quite a risk, but he bought himself a really nice filly and he got his due reward,” Rodney said.
“It was one of the fillies of the sale. It was an outstanding pinhook and probably one of the best pinhooks of the year in Australasia. He took a decent risk and it paid off.”
It was love at first sight when Dave first laid eyes on the Zoustar filly.
“When I saw her she was just beautiful,” he said.
“I fell in love with her and I’ve never spent that sort of money buying a horse before and I just had to buy her because I knew she was just a lovely type.
“In this industry you normally want to try and break even and then if you can make a profit that’s what you’re trying to do. So it’s nice when you do get it right.”
Dave said the key to a good pinhook was “doing your homework in terms of what you want to buy” – and a bit of luck helped.
While he tries to pinhook a few horses every year, his main business is yearling preparation for clients.
Dave, who grew up in Matamata and moved to Australia while still at school, bought Cambridge’s Landsdowne Park 10 years ago after he finished playing professional rugby.
His career, which began with the Queensland Reds, took him across the globe to England, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand. While here he played for Bay of Plenty, the Waikato Chiefs and Counties Manukau as a lock.
When his playing days ended he began looking for something completely different.
“I’d always had a passion for horses and the thoroughbred industry and got into it through that,” he said.
Dave said people’s generosity in helping him get established in the industry had been “amazing”.
To top off a stellar year for Duley, a horse reared on his farm, Dijon Bleu, is “now looking like she’s going to be filly of the year”.